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McEvoy leads a clean sweep at the Tour Doon Hame
Jonny McEvoy won the final stage of the Tour DoonHame to make it three from three for Endura Racing at our home round of the Premier Calendar Series. Jonny's solo stage victory was enough for him to take the yellow jersey off the shoulders of his teammate Erick Rowsell who finished second overall with Scott Thwaites in third completing the clean sweep.
The team also took home all of the classifications - Race winner (Yellow, McEvoy), Points (Green, Thwaites) and King of the Mountains (Polka Dot, Alexander Wetterhall) as well as being the top team.
The stage today was very lumpy and the 'queen' stage of the event. A long second category climb to be raced over twice during the first 20 miles and then a 20% monster coming just before halfway that would test the riders to the limit. While the profile of the stage also showed the race going down hill over the last 50 miles, it wasn't so as the riders found out with grippy undulating roads as well as a strong headwind.
After two laps of a starting circuit where Alex Wetterhall sealed his lead in the J&B Print KoM jersey, the break of thirteen escaped and in there were three Endura Racing riders; Jonny McEvoy, Rob Partridge and yellow jersey Erick Rowsell. Then, Scott Thwaites took a few risks to join the group and from there on, despite a challenge from Raleigh-GAC, we were confident of a result.
The plan was to win the stage alone or have Scott Thwaites win the bunch gallop. It was the former as Jonny McEvoy showed great form attacking twice in three miles to go clear and win the stage solo. Scott Thwaites then won the sprint for second.
It was a pretty tough stage, one of the hardest races I have done for a while so it is really good to get the win.
The yellow wasn’t the goal as we had Erick leading the race and when we had so many in the break which was the plan, we tried to make sure there was only one away, not two so then we could be sure of the win. Fortunately, I got away on my own purely thinking of the stage win and I feel a bit bad taking the yellow off Erick! As long as its with Endura though, its good for the team.
We’d passed five miles to go and the two Raleigh lads were putting in some strong attacks and I managed to wait it out and I think it was with three miles to go, I got away, Sulzberger came across but I didn’t want to take him to the finish as I know he’s fast. Fortunately, I got away again and this time on my own and that was the longest two miles I have done in a while!
I think its my first stage race victory as a senior. I’m pretty made up with that. Everyone seems to winning and you feel a bit left out if you haven’t! It’s been a good two days for Endura Racing.
It was a really really hard stage today. The weather made it ten times harder than it could have been as well. We had the best team for this sort of race; guys up there in numbers all day and could do what we wanted. We had so much presence at the front we were able to control the race so it was perfect really.
Jonny taking the yellow jersey wasn’t talked about but it was so close going into the last stage. I was leading it but Scott was only 14 seconds back and Jonny was only a little further back from that so as long as one of us won the stage and one of us the overall, that was the strategy. And we got all three on the podium so it was perfect.
It’s all go from here now so to have this good form now is really good and I just hope I can hold on to it for a bit longer and can get some more results.
It was very nice coming here to Scotland and having a Scottish sponsor in Endura, and the jerseys for the race from Endura too; it’s very nice to keep them all for ourselves!
The important thing today was to keep the yellow jersey in the team. So we were more going for that. If I was able to take a few more points for the KoM that was also very good and I got second in the first one and third in the next one so I was pretty sure I had the KoM jersey in the bag.
I had good legs and Mike Cuming from Rapha had clipped off the front and I thought I’ll just go across to him and mark the move so if one of them got across it was with one of us and I rode across to him comfortably and started turning on the gas over the top and he couldn’t really give me a turn and I didn’t want to tow him across. So I kept slowing down and attacking to either encourage him to come through or get rid of him and luckily I managed to get away from him.
It was then head down on the descent. I used my off road background a bit to take a few risks and got across and that was it. I then settled into the group which was working well and it was always going to stay away I think. Having the lead in the Points, it was always going to be good to pick up the seconds on the road so when I got across, there was only one more sprint left and I made sure I got that to ensure nobody else got the seconds to get close to Erick or myself or the green jersey.
Everyone was tapping through although a few riders were missing turns too. We had four in there and I don’t think a few people knew what to do. Richard (Handley) was committed as he was second on GC and was looking to defend that. There weren’t many attacks until probably 30k to go when Raleigh started attacking quite a lot. We were comfortable covering it and I thought if one of them did get away, it was still a long way to go, 30k on these roads after such a hard stage.
We didn’t panic and just made sure we marked the moves that went away and people were starting to get tired in the last 10k and Jonny got away and took his chance well.
I think I am stronger this season after doing the longer races and better at climbing as I proved today and everything is coming together. I have had a much better start to the season and am going well. I have had a win yesterday and third overall plus the points jersey so It’s been a good weekend for me.
Julian Winn, Directeur Sportif:
We were riding today to try and win the race overall. We had five riders in with a shout and the main thing today was we had numbers out front and that gave us options. As long as it (yellow jersey) was kept in house, it made no difference. We were never riding for Erick, we were riding for the yellow jersey. If Erick had stayed in it, then great.
Rob (Partridge) and Jonny’s job at the end was to attack but only attack on their own and try to win on their own. If the overall came with that, so be it and if it came down to a bunch sprint, we had Scott, so we had all the options covered really.
All eight of them here have ridden very well and just keep getting stronger and trusting each other and you can never beat a good team. We lost Dean (Windsor) today because of knee trouble but he was riding really well in the crit last night so I can’t fault them.
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Report and photos by Larry Hickmott | www.VeloUK.net